Ah, but let us get down to business and cut our swathe through the fog d’hype. (Editor Donna just walked in the door…)
As predicted and projected, the Apple Watch in stores 24 April in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, UK and US goes light and standard on health measurement features: accelerometer, heart rate sensors, running and weekly activity reports. What’s different? Wrist burps you if you’re a lazy, sitting sod. (Not a great feature for deep meditators or napsters.) The leak from two weeks ago feinted health through downplaying the functionality of the Watch. Back in September, claims included blood pressure and stress monitoring. [TTA 18 Feb]
Now for the right cross. It’s not the Watch, it’s the ResearchKit. Apple gets serious in health apps beyond HealthKit, partnering with the stars in the medical research firmament. As reported:
- The ResearchKit can pull data from other applications as well as HealthKit, which has 900-odd apps alone. iPhone users can opt-in to use these research apps and essentially, crowdsource participation, a boon to researchers. HealthKit also integrates with the Epic EHR.
- Five research applications were created by Apple in conjunction with leading academic healthcare organizations.
- A Parkinson’s Disease app that analyzes gait after 20 steps with an iPhone in the pocket: University of Rochester, Xuanwu Hospital and Capital Medical University.
- Diabetes research: Massachusetts General Hospital
- Asthma: Mount Sinai Hospital and Weill Cornell Medical College
- Cardiovascular disease: Stanford University and the University of Oxford
- Breast cancer: Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, UCLA School of Public Health and Penn Medicine
How these iPhone apps will interface with the Watch, and how the Watch itself develops unique aspects of health tracking, will be breathlessly speculated on by the healthdigerati. Right now, Press Eyes are on Apple Breaking the Sound Barrier to be a $1 trillion company. The Guardian does a fine job of summarizing the Android smartwatch ‘feh’ to date with about 7 million (mainly Pebbles) shipped. Yet analysts estimate 8-40 million Apple Watches shipped through 2015. The pace through spring and summer–and reports of glitches–will tell. AFP/Yahoo!News, AP News/MyWay, AppleInsider, MedCityNews, The Guardian (on the gold watch and Sir Jony Ive, the designer), TNW condenses the announcement into one long list and the Apple video on the ResearchKit. Hat tip to the dapper Dr. David Albert of AliveCor for the Gizmodo article via Twitter.
Update 11 Mar: Gigaom has several takes on the Watch including ApplePay, which has application to pharmacies and urgent care. We mention these as the swan song of Om, one of the better tech business sites, as it ceased publishing operations immediately after these articles were posted. Requiescat in pace and we wish the best to their editorial writers and staff in their future pursuits.
Ah, diversity...now that has come into question for those research trials. Much research around the Applepolloi indicates that they are higher income than the Androidpolloi (Comscore) and more ‘upscale’ in their lifestyles (Forbes) but overall, smartphone users are a slice of the more affluent and tech-comfortable. A writer in BuzzFeed collects the academic frets on whether the research samples are going to be diverse enough to match the diseases that may disproportionately affect the less affluent or ethnic. But then again, these samples take a lot of work to make representative–often their most significant problem is having enough volunteers!